I agree that the current structure leaves them open to liability, but I can't really see them giving up on Judicial committees, it's the main tool they have to keep everyone in line. I can see them doing away with some of the reporting aspects of it, pushing it back down to the congregation level and giving the illusion that they were not involved. Then they could give the circuit overseers the responsibility to meet with the elders and check up on any JC activity when they make their visits. That way there would be no paper trail. If anything did go to court they would simply lie and pretend it was all handled at the congregation level. Of course that leaves the elders liable, but they don't care about that, they are expendable.
Why The Watchtower Must Abolish Judicial Committees
They can easily abolish JC if thet want. It's not scriotural. They can also say, "after further review, the ruling on the field has been overturned. Judicial committees are not theocratic. We will be updating to a new "theocratic" method after 60 years in the same manner we just did with elder appointments. touchdown JW.org!"
I see them eventually making DF ing a personal matter, enforced by elders in the same way dress and grooming is enforced by elders. Those seen hanging with weak ones will not get privileges.
My guess is that there might be new rules stipulating that judicial matters come under the direct purview of the CO and not the branch or headquarters (like they did with the appointment of elders and ministerial servants). So all records of a judicial nature will be sent to the CO and not the branch or headquarters. Of course what the CO decides to do with those records is his prerogative, without nothing in writing stating the CO has to pass those records on to the branch or headquarters, Watchtower cannot be held liable because some CO decides to share information with them on his "own initiative", can they?
So maybe the elders might receive a new shepherd the flock book eliminating all the references to judicial committees and the secret record-keeping that surrounds them. Then when the CO comes and he has his special meeting with the elders he'll just give them his own "suggestions" on how to handle judicial matters, which the elders would have to record in their own hand in their own notebooks. Of course, there will be striking similarities between the CO's "new" rules for judicial matters and the old rules that were given by the organization in the shepherd book. The major difference here will be that any legal ramiffications resulting from the judicial process will now fall squarely on the back of the CO and not Watchtower.
A recent BOE Letter seems to validate metatron's astute observations:
In Europe there this push to abolish religious courts such as the Islamic Sharia system. I can't remember which nation it was recently (Iceland?) where a politician was looking at the JW's judicial committees. If this continues it may lead to changes similiar to how problems in Bulgaria lead to the introduction the new "disassociated by actions" rule.
Actually, Donut, you raise an excellent point. If nations move towards opposing Sharia courts, what happens to the Watchtower's Rabbinical Courts?
Isn't the CO still appointed by the GB? If this is still the case, then the Borg would still be legally liable, as the CO is their appointee. However, if the CO was elected by the elders of the Circuit he would be their man. Any problems that would result could be considered a local problem, and not involve the Watchtower Corp.
It's doubtful that the GB would relinquish their power by giving the local elders the opportunity to choose their own CO. It could even lead to the local congregations electing their own elders.